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ITALY
ERGA OMNES

The literal meaning of the Latin term is "in relation to everyone".

It is used to describe collective agreements whose applicability extends to all workers of a certain bargaining unit. Article 39(4) of the Italian Constitution makes provision for the concept of a collective agreement which is automatically applicable to all those in the industries covered by it whenever concluded by representative bodies in which the registered trade unions are represented in proportion to their numerical strength.

However, no legislation implementing this Article has ever been enacted, partly as a result of opposition on the part of certain trade union organizations (mainly the CISL ) which were anxious both not to strengthen the confederation that had traditionally been the largest (the CGIL ) and not to let in, through the registration system, state control over internal union organization.

As yet there has been no conclusion to the debate on whether the provisions of Article 39(4) should be upheld or revised.

One particular instance of extension of the applicability of collective agreements is to be seen in Law No. 741 of July 14, 1959, whereby Parliament directed the Government to issue within one year Decrees incorporating all existing collective agreements, which would as a consequence become applicable to all employees.

After these powers of incorporation had been renewed by Law No. 1207 of October 1, 1960, the Constitutional Court blocked the institutionalization of such a mechanism; it upheld Law No. 741/59 by virtue of its transitory nature, while declaring the renewal Law to be unconstitutional since it implied the permanence of a procedure for extending the applicability of collective agreements, contrary to the provisions of the Constitution.


Please note: the European industrial relations glossaries were compiled between 1991 and 2003 and are not updated. For current material see the European industrial relations dictionary.